Relations between Tanzania and China could be central for future African ecological transition.

By Alessandro Deligios – Art in Tanzania internship

Bagamoyo, Tanzania

In these last years China is exploiting her economic power to take more influence in geopolitical arena. According with the future model of geo-economic competition, China firstly seems try to become the leader State in Asia, secondly is taking more power in many areas of the word. One of the strategies to extend her influence is the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), with which, through financing project in different word areas, China is able to deeply link the economy of various countries to her one and so create a global economic network that have Chinese economic and financial system as reference – the so-called Beijing consensus.

Jakaya Kikwete and Xi Jinping

In particular China is focusing on East Africa and in this region Tanzania-China relationship is a key for Beijing to get a strategic economic position: in 2013 the Tanzanian ex President Jakaya Kikwete signed an agreement for allow China to invest in the financing of Bagamoyo port project, around which it should have place a special economic zone, that expected China to have especial condition for example for water and energy provisions and the security that Tanzania wouldn’t have financing another competitor port. But in January 2016 the project has been annulled by the President John Magufuli because the agreement for him was like sell Tanzania to Chinese investors.

In climate discussion we know that African countries are the most affected by the problem brought by climate changes, especially by the global warming: the continent probably will be exposed to longer periods of drought and water provision will be always more difficult. About this we also know that China is one of the countries which release the highest levels of greenhouse gases. Despite the attempts of Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and started in 2005, and of Paris Agreement in 2016, emissions have not yet been limited in satisfactorily way. Developed countries have the responsibility to help the developing ones in ecological transition and the GEF (Global Environment Facility) is a program managed by the UN and the Word Bank that give financing to the developing countries for they can get positive results related to four areas: climate changes, desertification, international water pollution and biodiversity. Good results are got in third and fourth areas, but not in the first two. At the start of April 2021 the First Minister Geoffrey Mwambe said that Tanzania would be ready for a new agreement about Bagamoyo port project if terms will be changed: in this Tanzania-China relations can be central for the ecological transition of all the Africa. Tanzania could advance conditions for the project according with UN 2030 Agenda sustainability goals, cooperating with others African countries for doing the same with others Chinese investments in Africa, when possible. With high chance China is so interested in extend her economic influence in Africa to get more global diplomatic weight to be disposed to accept conditions of sustainability for her projects. It could be one of the few ways to do that China – but not only, also other countries that would like investing in Africa – massively reduce her emissions. And this will be more powerful based on how many countries will collaborate: it should be a priority because fast growing economies have to develop in sustainable way and must do pressure on developed countries, especially on China in that global big player that is trying to extend own power.

GEF logo
UN 2030 Agenda sustainable development goals

Sources

– (About climate issue and international relations)

J. Grieco, G. J. Ikenberry, M. Mastanduno, Introduzione alle relazioni internazionali, UTET, 2017

– (About Bagamoyo port project)

D, Ayemba, Bagamoyo port project timeline and all you need to know, 15 April 2021, on Construction Review Online, https://constructionreviewonline.com/project-timelines/bagamoyo-port-project-timeline-and-all-you-need-to-know/.

P. Mittal, Tanzanian Bagamoyo Port Project Story, 16 September 2020, on Belt and Road News, https://www.beltandroad.news/2020/09/16/tanzanian-bagamoyo-port-project-story/.

A. D’Amaro, Un ponte tra Cina e Africa: il porto di Bagamoyo, Tanzania, 8 September 2020, on Lo Spiegone, https://lospiegone.com/2020/09/08/un-ponte-tra-cina-e-africa-il-porto-di-bagamoyo-tanzania/ .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s